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Ship noise kills crabs’ libidos

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This article was originally hakai magazine, an online publication on science and society in coastal ecosystems.Read more articles like this

The constant roar of ship engines and other human noises are truly annoying to many sea creatures, disrupting their feeding, navigation and communication. new research The noise of a ship can kill a lascivious crab.

To date, most research on marine noise pollution has focused on how it affects large marine mammals. whales, etc.But Kara Rising, a marine ecology graduate student at the University of Derby in England, was interested in how it would affect the often overlooked crustaceans. no studies have examined how it affects mating behavior in squirrels, she says.

“All animals are there for three WhatRising said: If any of these are disrupted, we can expect population impacts. “

To study how noise pollution affects crab mating, Rising collected male blue crabs from beaches in Cornwall, England, and placed them individually in small tanks. Next to the crab, she placed a decoy female. It’s actually a yellow sponge with toothpick legs that are dusted with artificial sex pheromones. “For crabs, sight is not the most important sense during mating, but they prefer a great Tsushima,” she says.

Crab sex is more complicated than you might think. Shore crabs mate after the female molts when the shell is still soft. The male stands up on his feet, rides on the female’s back with her claws outstretched, and wraps her legs around her in a “love hug,” she says. They stay like that for several days and the male protects them until the vulnerable soft-shelled female is ready to release her eggs.

In general, the crabs seemed happy to try to impregnate the pheromone-impregnated sponges. But then Rising started the real experiment. By playing a recording of the ship’s sound, she found that too much noise can confound this sensitive issue. are much less likely to attempt to mate.

Carlos Duarte, a marine biologist at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, said the study adds to scientists’ understanding of how animals are affected by noise pollution. He said the study is particularly important because it focuses on a poorly studied species and because it examines how noise affects behavior and directly influences population dynamics. says that.

Duarte hopes that it will become clear how man-made noise affects marine life and that regulators will take stronger action to prevent it. “This adds to the pool of evidence that should ultimately lead to more regulation of how humans introduce noise into the environment,” he says.

According to Rising, her study was rather small and preliminary, so it needed more robust and controlled laboratory conditions, such as whether males would abandon females if they started making noise after establishing an embrace. I would like to investigate further below. But she says it’s an important first step toward improving her understanding of the effects of underwater noise.

“We need to look more at how noise affects species that we don’t think much about,” she says. “Everybody thinks of whales, but poor little crabs need to have sex too.”

This article first appeared on hakai magazine, Republished here with permission.

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